top of page


Founded 1856

Pictured: from the JCHS archives: Oskaloosa, Kansas west side of square, unknown date

"The site of the present town of Oskaloosa was settled as a land claim in February, 1855, by Dr. James Noble.


In August, 1855, Jesse Newell, Joseph Fitsimons, with several others, came from Iowa to select a place for settlement somewhere in the State of Kansas. The neighborhood around Dr. Noble's place was chosen as the most desirable.


Newell then conceived the idea of laying out a town there, but not having the money to buy the land, he kept his own counsel, not mentioning it even to his own party. But returning to Iowa he sold his farm the following winter, and then he and Joseph Fitsimons with their families, again returned to Kansas, arriving at the farm of Dr. James Noble on May 16, 1856.


Jesse Newell bought the claim of Dr. Nobel and moved into the cabin occupied by him. Fitsimons camped near where the public square now is, and soon after purchased a claim joining Newell's.


During the summer of 1856 Newell built and started a steam saw-mill on the west side of his claim, near a spring which he had found the year before.

In July, 1856,


Newell and Fitsimons laid out a town of forty acres, with blocks, streets and alleys, after the plat of Oskaloosa, Iowa, and the town was so named from the Iowa city.

Kansas Collection Books. History of the State of Kansas, William G. Cutler, original pub. 1883

bottom of page